NFDA Home
Join our Linked In Group! Follow NFDA on Twitter! Find us on Facebook! Connect with NFDA on Google+ View NFDA's YouTube Channel! View NFDA's Flickr Photostream!

Preplanning/Preneed

Model Laws and Best Practices

Dept. of Health & Human Services Adopts Final Rule on Intestine Transplants
The Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services has adopted a final rule which will include intestines in definition of organs covered by the regulations governing the operations of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.  In short, this amendment means intestines are now eligible for transplantation under federal law.  The rule will go into effect March 9, 2007.  If you would like to view the entire rule, please click here.

Model Consumer Protection Guidelines for State Preneed Funeral Statutes

The National Funeral Directors Association, the largest organization of funeral service professionals in the United States, has adopted the Model Consumer Protection Guidelines for State Preneed Funeral Statutes (the "Guidelines"). The Guidelines are designed to insure that consumers who purchase preneed funeral goods and services make informed decisions, receive protection against the loss of prepaid funds, deal with ethical and licensed preneed sellers and agents, and retain the right to cancel preneed funeral contracts or transfer preneed funding to different funeral providers.

The Guidelines address the following seven areas of preneed regulation:

  • Preneed Consumer Contract Disclosures
  • Preneed Trusting Requirements
  • Licensing of Preneed Sellers and Agents
  • Solicitation of Preneed Consumers
  • Revocation/Portability of Preneed Contract and Funding
  • Preneed Consumer Guaranty Fund
  • Enforcement of Preneed Laws

These Guidelines further NFDA's recognized policy that all preneed trust funds and preneed insurance policies are held as a sacred obligation for the benefit and protection of the consumer. No access to, or use of, those funds or policies for any purpose other than that for which they were established should be allowed.

NFDA and its member state funeral associations will work with state legislatures and regulatory authorities to amend existing preneed statutes and/or adopt new preneed statutes to provide the consumer protection provisions set forth in the Guidelines.

NFDA Model Consumer Protection Guidelines for State Preneed Funeral Statutes

Certified Preplanning Consultant Program (CPC)

CPC_logo_4_Color

The NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) Program is the only national certification program in the specialized field of advance funeral planning. This program was created by funeral service professionals, in response to consumer expectations for service with integrity, in 1997. It promotes the expertise and professionalism of those who are eligible to assist in the process of advance planning under state preneed laws, and sets the industry standard of excellence and integrity in preplanning through voluntary certification.

Through the CPC designation, NFDA grants formal recognition to individuals who have met certain predetermined professional qualifications including successful completion of the CPC examination, (independently scored by an outside testing firm).

What can CPC certification do for me?

Becoming CPC certified can enhance your reputation through recognition that you have met the national standard of excellence in preplanning.

The CPC credential adds value to your relationships with families – telling them you are committed to delivering exceptional customer service, maintaining the highest ethical standards, and advancing your professional knowledge.

Who qualifies for CPC certification?

You must be eligible and permitted by state law to preplan funerals with the public and currently employed in the preplanning field. Eligible non-funeral directors are required to verify that they have completed a minimum of 12 months of employment in the preplanning field prior to the date of application. A CPC Associate designation is offered for key preplanning staff who are not responsible for preplanning funerals with the public.

Can I earn CE?

Yes – most state funeral licensing boards and many state insurance licensing boards approve CPC seminars and correspondence study for continuing education; approved hours vary by program and state. The program is approved by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (ABFSE).

 

CPC Purpose, Vision and Mission

CPC Program Overview (PDF)

FCC Do Not Call Registry


FCC FOLLOWS FTC IN ADOPTING DO NOT CALL LIST
Preneed sales calls, both interstate and intrastate, effected

PREAMBLE

The following is a very preliminary review of the basic provisions of the new Do Not Call rules adopted by the FTC and the FCC. A more detailed analysis of both these rules and how they impact funeral service will be available in the next several weeks. In the meantime, this is designed to simply alert you to the fact that preneed telemarketing sales calls will be dramatically impacted by these new rules when they go into effect this fall.

FCC DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

On June 26th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted changes to its Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 regulations. (TCPA) by establishing a national Do Not Call registry. Unlike the FTC Do Not Call registry, the FCC registry covers both interstate and intrastate telemarketing calls.

The FCC registry will be implemented in conjunction with the FTC registry when it goes into effect October 1. Consumers can register now but telemarketers are not bound by the new rules until October.

In addition to the Registry, the FCC also adopted restrictions on the use of predictive dialing, blocking consumer caller id information and unsolicited faxes. It also allows consumers to prohibit telemarketing sales calls from a specific company yet continue to receive calls from others.

There are several exemptions to the restrictions outlined in this rule. The first is an existing business relationship exemption that allows telemarketers to contact a customer for 18 months after a business transaction and 3 months after an inquiry or application. However, a consumer prohibiting a specific company from calling negates this exemption. The other is an exemption for consumers who have given specific written permission to be solicited by a company either by phone or by fax. Also, the Do Not Call Registry does not apply to tax-exempt, non-profit, charitable organizations or religious or political calls.

The FCC Do Not Call Registry does not pre-empt state registries but it will coordinate with the states to “harmonize” their lists with the national list. However, all state do not call registries must include those consumers who are on the FCC registry from that state. Moreover, if a state law is not as stringent as the federal rule, the federal rule will automatically preempt it.

FTC DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to allow consumers to sign up for a national Do Not Call Registry that will prohibit unsolicited interstate telemarketing sales calls. While consumers can sign up for the registry now, it will not become effective for telemarketers until September 1. Enforcement will begin in October.

The amended TSR covers all telemarketers who solicit consumers to sell any goods or services or who provide or offer to provide or arrange to provide goods or services to consumers in exchange for payment through interstate phone calls. This includes third-party telemarketers who solicit on behalf of any exempt companies such as long distance phone companies, airlines and insurance companies operating under state regulations.

Exemptions to the FTC’s Do Not Call registry relating to an established business relationship and prior written permission as reflected in the FCC’s rule apply here as well. As does the specific company solicitation prohibition.

IMPACT FOR FUNERAL SERVICE

Under the current “Face-to-Face” exemption, interstate preneed sales calls and callers are exempt from the provisions of the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule. This is based on the fact that most, if not all, preneed sales are not consummated on the phone but rather as a result of a personal visit from the seller to the consumer.

However, this exemption DOES NOT apply to the new Do Not Call Registry and its related provisions. Under it, all interstate preneed telemarketing sales call and marketers are subject to its requirements.

With regard to the new FCC Do Not Call Registry and related provisions, all interstate and intrastate preneed telemarketing sales calls are subject to its requirements as well.

Therefore, as of September 1 for the FTC rules and October 1 for the FCC rules, all preneed sales calls and telemarketers will be subject to the new Do Not Call Registries and their related provisions irrespective of any other provisions or exemptions of the TSR or TCPA. This will have a far-reaching and dramatic impact on preneed sales and sellers. As a result, it will have a significant financial impact on those funeral homes and cemeteries whose use preneed sales calls as a primary or major part of obtaining new business.

REQUIREMENTS ON SOLICITORS

Starting in September, telemarketers will have access to the FTC national “do not call” registry. Telemarketers will be required to “scrub” their call lists against the registry at least once a calendar quarter to remove all numbers that have registered with the FTC or the FCC. The FTC, which will oversee enforcement, will have a fully automated online system for telemarketers to use. It will be secure, but will require a telemarketer to provide basic identification information on itself and all sellers it represents. An annual fee will be charged based on the number of area codes that the company accesses.

After the registry takes effect and enforcement commences in October, a consumer who has registered and who receives a solicitation may complain to the FTC. Violations can be fined up to $11,000 per incident.

NFDA will be providing more information on compliance and enforcement after the FTC and the FCC publish additional details.

Medicare Prescription Drug Act - Keeps Exclusion for Preneed Trusts

On December 8, 2003 President Bush signed into law, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (Pub. L. No. 108-173). As an advantage for funeral directors, the act does not eliminate the current exclusion for preneed funeral and burial trusts in order ot qualify for this benefit. While the benefit does not begin until 2006, this law creates a temporary presectioption drug discount card program expected to being in June 2004. Both the prescription benefit and the discount card porgram allow for subsidies for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. They also use different mechanisms and requirements for obtaining the subsidy.

Joyce Cowen, Esq. from the lawfirm of Epstein Becker & Green, Washington, D.C. has prepared an analysis on whether or not the new Medicare/Medicaid prescription drug bill would impact the funeral/burial trust exclusion for eligibility under this new program.